Levin on NAFTA Renegotiations: Keep an Eye on the Substance, Not Only the Clock

May 23, 2018 Issues: Trade, Health Care

Levin on NAFTA Renegotiations: Keep an Eye on the Substance, Not Only the Clock

Rep. Levin sat down with the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) to discuss NAFTA renegotiations. In the interview, he outlined the challenges that remain in the negotiations - particularly the failure to address a labor policy in Mexico that suppresses the wages of its workers and affects the outsourcing of jobs in the United States and Canada. Rep. Levin noted that this issue has dogged NAFTA since its inception 25 years ago. It was the subject of a January 2018 letter led by Rep. Levin to U.S. Trade Representative, Amb. Lighthizer, that was signed by over 180 Democrats. In speaking with the CBC, Rep. Levin highlighted the shared interest between the U.S. and Canada and emphasized the vital importance of addressing this issue in order to secure a new NAFTA deal.

You can watch the interview on the CBC’s Power & Politics program (at the 20m:30s mark) as well as an interview published on its website from the previous week.

Levin Calls Out President Trump’s Proposal on Prescription Drug Costs as Being Completely Inadequate

Responding to the President’s announced proposal on the high cost of prescription medicines on May 11, Rep. Levin said it “was filled with more promises, but it fails to spell out viable reforms needed to really move the needle on cutting prescription drug prices.”

Levin highlighted that the announcement rejects two of President Trumps own campaign promises: (1) using the Medicare program’s enormous leverage to directly negotiate lower drug prices for senior citizens; and (2) allowing the safe re-importation of cheaper medicines from Canada. Further, there is no meaningful proposal for holding drug companies accountable for excessive price increases, even after President Trump said they were ‘getting away with murder’. See Levin’s full statement here.

May is National Foster Care Month!

Since 1988, the Children’s Bureau of the Department of Health and Human Services and its partners have celebrated National Foster Care Month in May. The month is dedicated to acknowledging foster parents, volunteers, and child welfare professionals who help foster youth succeed, as well as focusing on how to improve the lives of the more than 430,000 American children in foster care. This year’s theme is “It’s All Relative: Supporting Kinship Connection.” On Tuesday, First Star Institute, a public charity which partners with child welfare agencies and schools to support foster youth, came to D.C to discuss increasing foster youth success in college. Representatives from First Star Institute highlighted the importance of foster youth alumni support groups in college and during the college application process. Three inspiring young women, all foster youth alumni and college graduates, spoke at the briefing about the positive impact college support programs had on their success and well-being, and the need for more support programs for adolescent foster youth.

May is Mental Health Awareness Month!

Mental Health includes emotional, psychological, and social well-being. It helps us determine how we cope with stress, trauma, or other difficult situations in our lives. Positive mental health allows us to make meaningful contributions to our communities, connect with others well, and stay positive through various seasons of life. According to the National Council for Behavioral Health, there are seven super skills to help those around you who may be in crisis. The first four skills include calmness, honesty, a non-judgmental attitude, and empathy. These four skills create a safe space that can comfort and promote trust between the person in need and you. The next three skills are resourcefulness, reassurance, and encouragement. A person who needs help will need reassurance that there are resources available and encouragement to continue to pursue support. Mental illness can affect anyone. It is important to recognize the signs and know when and how to lend a helping hand.

This Week on the House Floor:

This week the House is considering legislation (S. 2155) that rewrites portions of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act that was passed after the 2008 financial crisis.  The House will also consider a bill overwhelmingly opposed by the patient advocacy community that would establish an unnecessary pathway to access experimental drugs without oversight by the Food and Drug Administration (S. 204).  Finally, the House will consider the National Defense Authorization Act for FY 2019 (H.R. 5515), which authorizes funding for defense and national security operations for the upcoming fiscal year.